Malcolm started volunteering with Aberdeen Cyrenians in 2014 and has shared a bit about his experience for Volunteers’ Week!
Tell us how you started volunteering with Aberdeen Cyrenians?
When I started volunteering, myself and another volunteer were responsible for helping service users with IT. This involved assisting with CVs, completing online application forms and emails. We had users from all different backgrounds, some were unfamiliar with computers while other didn’t speak English as their first language.
Do you still do that now?
Now my main activities are packing food parcels and making sure the food shelves are kept stocked. It involves lots of lifting and shifting and climbing stairs – so no need for the gym! I also do food deliveries once a week and collect food donations when needed.
How did you find out about the volunteering opportunities available at Aberdeen Cyrenians?
I found out about Aberdeen Cyrenians while I was working as an IT instructor. Students had to prepare a report on an Aberdeen based charity and many chose this one which made me aware of all the work they do to help the homeless. I was a Scout Leader for six years and wanted to continue volunteering after I retired so I could still be involved with people. Aberdeen Cyrenians seemed like a good fit.
“It’s definitely the best volunteering experience I have had.”Malcolm, Aberdeen Cyrenians volunteer
How does your volunteering make you feel?
Aberdeen Cyrenians address the issue of homelessness directly, locally and effectively. I always enjoyed working with service users who needed IT assistance and almost everybody I helped seemed to go away happier than when they came in. To be able to do that, help in a small way when people have enormous difficulties in their lives, is a humbling experience.
Have you learnt more about homelessness by becoming an Aberdeen Cyrenians volunteer?
I consider myself very lucky never to have experienced the difficulties and hardships that affect our service users and my volunteering has made me much more aware of the intractable problem of homelessness. Without a reasonable settled employment, it is very difficult and so many of society’s ills stem from these issues. Being aware of Aberdeen Cyrenians’ work has enabled me to recognise both the problems of homelessness and the efforts of all at Aberdeen Cyrenians to make a difference. We should be shouting “make homelessness history”!
“It’s all about being involved in something I consider to be worthwhile.”Malcolm, Aberdeen Cyrenians volunteer